Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12/'16 /Creation Corner: Signs of our Times?

Creation Corner Column for December 2016:  Signs of Our Times?

"We plead, O Lord, to see the day of Earth's redemption that sets your people free." Verse from Advent Hymn 25, "Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers" (Lutheran Book of Worship)

Voices calling for a renewable energy economy and a safe climate future, using a slogan of "Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground", remind us of the dangers of fossil fuel development and the urgency of the climate crisis.

One example, from the Fall "Friends of the Earth" news magazine, is this: "Pipeline leaks and oil spills contaminate public lands and waters, communities are being displaced by coastal erosion and accidents like natural gas explosions.  And extreme weather events due to climate change, such as floods, hit some of the most vulnerable communities the hardest."

The "Keep It In The Ground" movement has found resonance in Pennsylvania as the PA Medical Society has adopted a resolution calling for a moratorium on fracking.   Citing the many unanswered questions about Marcellus shale gas drilling, the group also asks for a state registry on the personal, community, and environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing.

Over 1000 chemicals could be used in fracking, and some may have a carcinogenic effect when released into the air and water.  More research is needed, but for now the doctors' group thinks the questioned health risks outweigh the economic benefits.

Another example of groups in seeming agreement with the "Keep It In The Ground" movement is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), whose church-wide body recently voted to discontinue fossil fuel investments, and to work toward a sustainable future.

This happened on the heels of the 2015 call by the Lutheran World Federation Council to do the same.

Another "sign of our times": The nature words of pasture, dandelion, willow, acorn and nectar have been dropped from the Oxford Junior Dictionary for seven year olds.  Techno words added are broadband, blog, cut & paste, mp3 player, and voicemail.

This quote from John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."

Finally, this paraphrased quote attributed to Chief Seattle:  "Whatever we do the web of creation, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect."

This blogger, Michael Ochs, located in Williamsport PA, is a member of the Interfaith Dialogue Commission of the 60-year old ecumenical body, the United Churches of Lycoming County.  In 1960-61 he was a member of the speakers bureau of the Lycoming chapter of the interfaith National Conference of Christians and Jews.